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GOP Gubernatorial candidates participate in primary debate

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On Tuesday, three of the four candidates on the 2014 Republican gubernatorial primary ballot participated in a debate at Colorado Christian University. Mike Kopp, Scott Gessler and Bob Beauprez took turns answering questions presented by female panelists from the Centennial Institute. The debate covered a variety of topics, from Nathan Dunlap to Fracking to reaching woman voters.

The fourth candidate – former Congressman, presidential and gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo – didn’t attend the debate. Though it was a primary debate, Democrat Governor John Hickenlooper was also invited to participate.

At the debate, the three candidates presented clear and decisive arguments about why they hoped to become the nominee.

Kopp pointed to his track record as Senate Minority Leader – a role he still plays – and discussed specific problems and plans for Colorado’s big political issues, with his arguments centered around the concept of liberty. For instance, in a question about fracking, Kopp was the only candidate who discussed the issue of private mineral rights ownership in the US, calling it “one of our most cherished rights.” Indeed America is the only country in the world in which mineral rights aren’t owned by the government, and this is crucial to understanding the issue.

Beauprez pointed to his business experience and gave clearly articulated statements about Republican principles and how they applied to Colorado. “One party doesn’t trust you,” he said at one point during the debate. “They think you create problems and it’s government’s responsibility to control and regulate you. The other party sees you as a solution, that people are inherently good.”

Gessler has consistently maintained that his being the only candidate to have won a statewide race (the 2010 Secretary of State Race) indicates that he is in a stronger position to win the general election than his Republican rivals. He maintained that position in the debate, and added that his Detroit and Chicago backgrounds made him particularly sensitive to seeing Colorado slow down economically. “Colorado has so many great resources and people, but we are watching other states as they sprint by us,” he said in his opening statement.

Each of the candidates presented unique take on the Republican vision, and with just over a month left to go before the June 24 primary, it will be interesting to see which one people choose.

For more articles by Sarah Tanksalvala, click here. For continuing notifications of Boulder County political news, subscribe to email alerts, or follow STanksalvala on Twitter.

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